Expert Voices

How You'll Control Your Home and Car in 2025

Screenshot from IEEE video, internet of things

Diogo Monica is an IEEE member and security lead at Docker, a company that offers an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship and run distributed applications. Monica contributed this article to Tom's Guide's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

In its forecast on the Internet of Things (IoT), industry research firm Gartner predicts that by the year 2025, more than 26 billion individual devices will be connected to the Internet. As more consumers embrace IoT gains, IEEE, the world's largest professional organization of technologists, looked into consumers' attitudes. IEEE surveyed more than 3,000 attendees at the 2015 Mobile World Congress (the world's largest mobile event) and the IEEE social media community on how they would like to interact with devices in their homes and vehicles by 2025.

The survey results show a few of the IoT-enabled devices that respondents believe will be prevalent within the next 10 years, along with some tips and best practices on how to interact with these emerging technologies.

It's all in your head

One of the most interesting findings from the survey was that 35 percent of respondents indicated they would like to use mind control to interact with their homes in the future, for example to unlock or lock their front doors and to control kitchen appliances.

In this video demonstrating a mind-control headset, I was given the ability to turn thoughts into actions. Concentrating on the desired action is a key element in the success of the mind-control device. Since mind control is mostly in the testing phase and isn't yet widely available to consumers, a sense of awe or magic surrounds this technology. In fact, the science behind such devices, in their most stripped-down forms, relies upon an electroencephalogram, or EEG, which monitors a wearer's brain waves and translates that information to a receiver. The receiver could be anything, from a mobile device to the front door of a house.

Also interesting is that the headset knows you by your brain waves, so even if the device is stolen, it can't be used against you. Think of it as an even more secure version of unlocking a mobile device with biometrics. A final note about mind control is that it utilizes common communication technology, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, IEEE standard 802.11.

Give my compliments to the chef

To date, mobile devices such as tablets and phones have been a driving factor in IoT adoption. Our survey results agreed, with more than a quarter of respondents indicating that mind-control devices will be extremely instrumental in communicating with kitchen appliances. For example, your mobile device can already? communicate with your coffee machine to turn it on in the morning, make sure that the oven is shut off and continuously monitor your fridge to let you know when you are running low on eggs.

Some of the main concerns regarding IoT are security and privacy implications. As more and more home devices connect to the Internet, this increases the risk that personal information will be compromised.

One way to increase protection is to ensure that all of your devices are protected individually. A vulnerability in any of your home devices might mean an attacker can gain access to your home network. Also, be sure to monitor your devices closely. The devices in your kitchen will be recording data about you. This data could be used to map your behavior and patterns. If acquired by the wrong hands, that information could help someone take advantage of you when you least expect it or are most vulnerable.

The open road with the comforts of home

One of the most anticipated and exciting areas in emerging tech is the field of driverless vehicles. According to our results, 55 percent of respondents noted they would prefer driverless vehicles as their primary mode of transportation in the future. Even though it seems these vehicles won't be available for quite some time, autonomous technology is already in modern cars: Examples include the lane-departure warning system, automatic braking and blind-spot indicators. 

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Vehicles are becoming an extension of homes, with entertainment systems and Internet services becoming standard in new vehicles. Wi-Fi is expected to be in every vehicle by 2025. Soon, you'll be able to connect to the Internet in your vehicle via a phone network, satellite or even the Wi-Fi of passing vehicles, such as other cars or buses.

As vehicles become more connected, security needs to be a key issue moving forward. As you will with the devices in your home, you'll need to make sure you stay current on vehicle software updates. These regular updates will most likely include fixes to security vulnerabilities, such as one that would allow attackers to unlock a car door wirelessly over the Internet.

Within the next decade, the Internet of Things is poised to completely revolutionize the way that people interact with all devices. But, as technology progresses for the overall benefit of humanity, security will be an ever-present concern: Ensure private information is not compromised.

All of these developments are generating innovative and rapid moves within the tech industry, so keep an eye out for mind-control devices, driverless vehicles and further contributions to mobile technology within the next few years — I expect we will see overall adoption by 2025.

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